Heavy Metal Bowling & BBQ

Metal, smoke, flames and bowling - Rowans Ten Pin Bowl, London, November 2013

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“Let there be skin”.. Rock drummer Cozy Powell, Whitesnake / Black Sabbath

Few can match the thrill when the screaming guitars, thunderous bass drums and the explosive pyrotechnics of a heavy metal concert collides with bowling and barbeque. This November, the team who brought you Heavy Metal Bowling, teamed up with Bompas & Parr’s Metal BBQ for a night of growling music, thundering ten-pin and food so hairy and muscular you can really gorge on it.

Bowling as a sport is totally rock and roll and dates back to the Egyptians themselves. Anthropologist Sir Flinders Petrie and his team of archeologists uncovered the first-known evidence of bowling equipment when exploring an ancient tomb dating back to 3200 BC. By the mid-1300’s AD it was popularly played across England, but bowling’s darker associations with gambling and riotous drunkenness led to a nationwide ban. Edward III outlawed the sport to encourage the peasants to focus on their archery skills. It came back into vogue in the Sixteenth Century when gluttonous voluptuary Henry VIII got into the sport and has been enjoyed ever since. Today the sport has an army of fans, played in ninety countries by over one hundred million people. Bowling’s outlaw credentials are further supported by the rumour that the tenth pin was added to get around a law banning nine-pin in Connecticut – giving rise to the modern game.

Metal drummers go through a lot of drumsticks. They are thrown to baying crowds, sold as tour mementos and given to crews as rewards for service. This means it’s possible to buy the drumsticks of legendary drummers like Lars Ulrich, Tommy Lee, Dave Lombardo, Nico McBrain, John Dolmayan or Jimmy The Rev Sullivan on eBay for a small consideration. For Bompas & Parr’s Metal BBQ these were chopped down and used to smoke the meat and vegan platters served. With the drumsticks being made of hickory, Canadian maple and golden oak the flavours were intense, heighted by the roaring soundscape and knowledge that you could be consuming the toasted sweat of a metal god.


Through the darkest night of the year, visitors at Rowans Ten Pin Bowl crushed pins, smashed beers and feasted on barbeque smoked over the burning drumsticks of their metal heroes. The collaboration between Heavy Metal Bowling and Bompas & Parr’s Metal BBQ striked a power chord within, uniting all through the bond of powerful music, slamming ten-pin and smoked-meat Valhalla.

DJs Into The Void banged out the epic tunes of Black Sabbath, Electric Wizard, Elder, The Sword, Slayer, Sleep and Metallica, and the highest scoring bowler of the evening won a burning Conan sword, the same model of sword used by Arnold Schwarzenegger in Conan the Barbarian.

Mark Skulls of Heavy Metal Bowling comments:
“Heavy Metal Bowling is about total pin devastation. Drop a ball on the lane with a soundtrack of Slayer and watch the impending doom of the pins as your ball curves into the pocket. There's no better accompaniment to the sound of crushing pins than heavy riffs and cold beer. Heavy Metal Bowling at war with pins.”

Bobby Whittaker of Heavy Metal Bowling adds:
“We’ll be fingering holes and caressing balls!”

The Metal BBQ menu satisfied visitors’ needs whether they preferred to munch down on a tower of veg or gorge on an epic piece of meat. Headliners included: Pork Shoulder and Beef Short Ribs in our special mace-bashed dry rub, slow cooked and smoked over the burning drumsticks of Nicko McBrain and John Dolmayan, and Black Sword Kebab and Vegan Skewer of Death - charred dark and red vegetables in a Jagermeister, and hot chili glaze smoked with the toasted sweat of Jimmy ‘The Rev’ Sullivan

The legendary Condiment Castle presented an array of sauces, glazes and relishes to satisfy any hardcore metal enthusiast, featuring a selection of the best American BBQ sauces and a range of the spiciest condiments known to mankind.

Harry Parr of Bompas & Parr states:
“With the Metal BBQ we are going for total maximal intensity of flavour. Unctuous meats and triumphant vegan kebabs are smoked with the burning hickory drumsticks of metal legends. Taste the glory, savour the sweat.”


Photography by Ann Charlott Ommedal. Illustration by Mark Skulls.